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Case 5.3

The Mei Mei Group: A Family Affair in Boston

Many consider family-owned businesses the backbone of American business. “Mei Mei” translates to “little sister” in Chinese, and its name aptly represents a family business of three siblings, Andy, Margaret (Mei), and Irene Li.  When Andy, the oldest sibling, formed the Mei Mei Group, it was only appropriate to name it after his two little sisters, Margaret and Irene. Together as the Mei Mei Group, the Lis operate Mei Mei Street Kitchen, a food truck on the streets of Boston, and more recently, Mei Mei restaurant. When the siblings decided to go into business together, they realized that despite their distinctly different backgrounds, what they all shared since childhood was a love of food.

The siblings were unanimous in their goal to bring authentic Chinese dishes with an American twist to Boston consumers, using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

Questions for Critical Thinking

3.Small businesses contribute to the economy by creating new jobs and industries and providing innovation. Provide examples of how the Mei Mei Group has achieved each of the contributions typically made by small businesses.

4.Discuss some of the biggest challenges for the Mei Mei Group as a small business. How do these challenges differ from other types of small businesses? 

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